Quick Lavalife™ Overview Last Reviewed: Nov 2002
Basic Membership Cost: FREE
Countries Served: Major Countries. US, Canada, Australia, UK and about 40 others. Membership level appears medium sized.
Types of Relationships: Includes 3 areas - dating, relationships and intimate encounters.
Key Membership Features:

Post your profiles, upload pictures(free)

Search, browse and send smilies (free)

Create a backstage 'photo gallery' (free)

Reply to mail and messages. (free)

To send messages costs credits.

Premium Membership Benefits:

Allows you to use all the contact features.
Costs are for buying credits, which are used for contacting others: 40 credits = $9.99, 90 = $19.99 and 200 = $39.99.

Pros: Unique look, emphasising the 3 different themes. Good range of free options. Credit system isn't too expensive. The help system was particularly useful, answering mostly everything you'd need to know. I liked how you could do some basic browsing to begin with before joining up. The search results were accurate.
Cons:

Not too sure about the top frame of the site - I found it a bit too big.

No right clicking allowed - annoyance.

Rob's Rating:

8 / 10


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Joining Lavalife Singles Dating Service

A good feature of lavalife is that you can browse the profiles without registering, thus making it easy to get an idea of the style, layout and range of singles before registering for free.

You can perform a quick search based on age range and location. This is fast and brings up a list of 10 people per page of results. They are very well laid out, including picture, 'hook/title' line and short profile. Other sites may well take a leaf out of lavalife's approach with the display of results like this. Icons and emails beside the pictures make interactivity even better.

To refine the search and do other things you need to actually register. I was very impressed by the searching, as you could speciy a range of interests to help you narrow down potential singles matches. Remember to save your searches so you can tweak them later on.

FREE Registration is a 2-step process:you firstly create a name/password then secondly fill out a profile page. Afterwards you can fill in a short description about yourself. Then, you can also upload your picture and create a backstage area that allows you to show potential matches more of yourself.

 

The Lavalife Site

Lavalife is based around 3 distinct themes: dating, relationship (those who are a bit more serious) and intimate encounters, for singles who want to get a bit closer. Each zone has a different color scheme so you know where you are, plus there are short tips and advice sections which offer enjoyable reading.

I wasn't sure sure abour the use of a frame at the top of the site - personally, I found it a bit too big, but maybe it's a sign I should get myself a bigger monitor!

It's good that they show an idea of the number of profiles in each section - for instance, the last time I was logged on, there were 65,000 women seeking a long-term relationship and 200,000 sharing heated moments in the intimate zone. No guessing which section I spent more time browsing...

The profile for intimate encounters asks 3 questions with 3 'drop-down' menu answers with lots of very interesting answers. 'What turns you on', 'What encounters are you open to' and 'what you look for in a partner', plus there's advice on sex and seduction should this be of interest to you. You fill in 1 or all 3 profiles should you feel adventurous.

Whenever you log back into your lavalife account, the homepage is elegantly designed with the 3 zones showing your status - if you have any new smilies, mails etc, plus number of new members. Impressive.

So, you've browsed a while and want to contact people - this is where you can buy credits. Unlike other singles dating sites, Lavalife operates not on a monthly, but a credit-based system:

Credit System

They are one-time purchases (No auto renewals) and are used to initiate the sending of messages:

Basic package, 40 credits - $9.99
Medium package 90 credits - $19.99
Best value package 200 credits $39.99

Mailing a member (all further contact between both of you is free) = 5 credits.

Instant Messaging = 10 credits for 20 minute session. During a session you can send as many messages to as many members as you like.

Remember - joining and browsing is free and there's never any obligation to purchase at any time.


Verdict

Lavalife's singles dating service is impressive, giving you the impression that they are a professional organisation that clearly cares about helping you find the right person. The themed approach works well, with the searching, browsing and profiles themselves all thoroughly thought out, organised and presented. The help section was excellent.

There are only a few minor quibbles - particularly my pet peave of not allowing right-clicking. I'd have rated it higher if this wasn't disabled!

You can do a lot with the free membership, but as with most services, to be in control of contacting others requires some cost. In lavalife's case I find the credit system a reasoned one - say you bought $40 worth of credits - this would allow you to converse with 40 other people, or potentially more if you used the credits with the instant messaging tool.

Rob's Rating - 8/10 - Recommended

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Review written by Rob Paul: Email me with any comments

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